You built a thriving business. You created a website. And on your website you have a store where customers can buy your product. You’re done, right? Maybe not.
In today’s digital economy, customers expect more than just an online store. They expect to connect with businesses whenever and wherever they want — on any device or in any store, with a direct way to access post-sales support and build a longer-term relationship. In fact, customers increasingly expect the connection to begin long before they arrive at your online store. Proactive marketing efforts that include a content-rich experience help customers build a connection with your company, and provide a path to easily find you online.
Managing this experience is a growing challenge for small businesses. On one hand, these companies need to expand their online presence to address competitors that are emerging across several fronts. On the other hand, the ever-increasing amount of data produced by these online systems make it harder for these companies to manage the business across spreadsheets and systems that aren’t designed for today’s fast-changing business world. Taken together, the resulting complexity can easily crush the ability of a growing company to scale.
The good news is that technology innovation is opening the door for small businesses to easily and economically leverage technology once
considered the domain of large companies.
Innovating the Front Office
By combining the most important capabilities into one complete front-office solution that is affordable and easy to use, forward-thinking small businesses are saving time, generating revenue, and uncovering new opportunities. With this type of system, companies can more effectively manage the continuous cycle of customer lead generation, acquisition, and retention.
SAP Anywhere is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) offering run by SAP in a public cloud with mobile and desktop capabilities, and enables small businesses to offer a multichannel buying experience to their customers. It seamlessly manages sales, marketing, e-commerce, inventory, and after-sales support activities in one system, helping small businesses with their customer lead generation, acquisition, and retention activities (see Figure 1).
With this entirely new solution, SAP aims to deliver constant innovation to small businesses as part of its vision to help companies run simply. As Ray Boggs, Vice President, Small and Medium Business Research at IDC, points out, “It meets a number of unmet needs in helping smaller firms engage more efficiently with customers. And it is designed with mobility in mind, operating the way a growing number of SMEs want to work.”
Key features of SAP Anywhere include:
Order processing: The solution enables companies to manage business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) operations in one system with highly configurable business processes. The system handles both B2B and B2C orders as native processes, depending on how the business interacts with individual customers.
Inventory management: The solution manages inventory in real time across multiple brick-and-mortar stores, an online store, and warehouses at the stock-keeping unit (SKU) and product variant levels. Real-time inventory control across the multiple channels enables businesses to provide a world-class selling experience as well as better manage their inventory levels, in line with larger retailers and eTailers.
Online store: The solution supports an online store that is easily configurable using one of the predefined responsive themes. It is simple to use and has intrinsic knowledge of stock and customer information to simplify managing websites and the customer experience.
Mobile point-of-sales (POS): The solution enables businesses to capture sales anywhere through the native mobile POS app.
Sales: The solution includes a graphics-based pipeline manager that can be used on any device.
Marketing campaigns: The solution integrates with email service providers, such as MailChimp and Constant Contact, with an API for additional services, so companies can drive electronic marketing campaigns.
- Analytics: The solution provides businesses with the insights they need to win new clients and better serve existing ones.
Extensibility: The solution is highly configurable and designed for small businesses that want to launch a system with big-business functionality within two weeks.
After-sales service: The solution is equipped with both a knowledgebase and a service case center so that businesses can easily track customer feedback whether it is provided online, in a store, or over the phone. It enables customers to have a case and query management system to help them address FAQs about their products and services, for example.
Back-office integration: The solution is tightly integrated with back-office systems, enabling companies to automate billing and logistics.
Integrated with SAP Business One
With SAP Anywhere, all of these features are provided in one complete and automated system that is integrated with SAP Business One back-office capabilities.
To create SAP Anywhere, SAP used the same development team that built SAP Business One, SAP’s ERP solution available on premise or in the cloud for small and midsize enterprises. As a result, SAP Anywhere and SAP Business One fully complement each other with out-of-the-box integration.
SAP Anywhere seamlessly manages sales, marketing, e-commerce, inventory, and after-sales support activities in one system, helping small businesses with their customer lead generation, acquisition, and retention activities.
While the solution is currently available in China, where a majority of small businesses conduct business transactions via their mobile device, additional markets such as the US and UK are scheduled to launch in 2016. By leveraging its global partner network, SAP worked closely with China Telecom to develop and customize SAP Anywhere for the Chinese market. China Telecom is among the top three telecommunication operators in mainland China.
“We are delighted to have worked closely with SAP in evolving SAP Anywhere from a local mobile solution in 2013 to a level where it is expected to ease daily business operations across different demands for smaller companies, which represent two-thirds of the market in Greater China,” says Han Zhuo, President of China Telecom Americas.
For more information about SAP Anywhere, visit www.sapanywhere.com.